Activision Blizzard’s Executive Leadership Is 15% Non-White, 26% Female

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Activision Blizzard’s Executive Leadership Is 15% Non-White, 26% Female
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Facing a series of walkouts and allegations of a "frat boy" culture, Activision Blizzard released a trove of data on gender representation in its workplace this week that showed just how homogenous the company is.

The report was released in a letter to employees and published Dec. 16. It was part of the video game publisher’s attempts to rehabilitate its image following a lawsuit from California regulators alleging the company created a pervasive mysoginistic culture and a Securities and Exchange Commission probe. It’s also facing intense backlash from current and former employees, who all allege Activision ran a workplace rife with sexual harassment and retaliated against victims for speaking out.

The report found that about a quarter of the total global workforce at Activision, Blizzard and King is female – a statistic it claimed was the same as other competitors in the gaming industry.


“While representation company-wide is similar to our peer gaming companies in the United States, this is wholly inadequate in my mind,” Alegre wrote. “We will do better. We have a lot of work to do as we build an organization where diversity is as much a core value as innovation.”

The company said 29% of its recent hires across divisions were women, but also noted 26% of the attrition that happened in 2021 was also female employees. Essentially, the publisher lost nearly as many women as it hired in the last year to resignations or retirement.

Women account for 26% of Activision, Blizzard and King’s executive leadership and 26% of its entry-level positions, the company noted.

Sam Blake/ dot.LA

Activision also fell short of the average threshold for hiring ethnically diverse staff. Of its U.S. employees 36% identified as “a member of an underrepresented ethnic group,” which Activision admitted was behind the average of its competitors, who report roughly 40%.

Underrepresented ethnic groups – non-white staff – make up 15% of Activision Blizzard’s executive leadership.

In the letter, Activision chief operating officer Daniel Alegre said the company’s goal is to double the representation of women and non-binary staff at Activision Blizzard in the next five years.

Alegre said he wants at least one-third of the company to consist of non-male staff. He also said Activision Blizzard will include yearly diversity goals with executive leadership performance goals and invest in professional development and manager mentorship programs that “foster a culture of inclusion” across the company and allow more diverse staff to ascend the corporate ladder.

This letter from Activision Blizzard is a stark contrast to one sent to employees last week in an attempt to discourage them from unionizing.

Workers at Activision’s headquarters in Santa Monica were communicating with the media labor union the Communications Workers of America, which asked them to sign a union authorization card, one of the first steps towards a vote on joining a union.

The union discussions prompted chief administration officer (and former member of the Trump administration) Brian Bulatao to recognize the employees’ right to have a union under the National Labor Relations Act, but strongly warned against it.

Bulatao said in a letter to the company's nearly 10,000 employees last week they should “consider the consequences” of signing into a union agreement with CWA. He added, “Achieving our workplace culture aspirations will best occur through active, transparent dialogue between leaders and employees that we can act upon quickly. That is the better path than simply signing an electronic form offered to you by [the] CWA or awaiting the outcome of a legally mandated and regulated bargaining process sometime in the future.”

Risa Lieberwitz, a labor and employment law professor at Cornell University, told the Washington Post Bulatao’s email “plays close to the line of illegality in the implication that Activision Blizzard’s ‘pledged’ progress in workplace conditions are linked to the company being nonunion.”

Employees and a group of activist investors continue to call for CEO Bobby Kotick’s resignation, following revelations that he knew about alleged abuse within the company for several years but failed to act or inform the board. Activision Blizzard in September agreed to pay $18 million as part of a settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Activision Blizzard has experienced at least three work stoppages in the last five months as employees walked out to protest the company’s culture and handling of ongoing accusations.

Most recently, contractors at Raven Software – a subsidiary that does quality testing for some of Activision’s most popular franchises including “Call of Duty” – walked off the job to protest contract cuts.

Activision employees including Jennifer Gonzalez, a former senior test analyst for Blizzard Entertainment and walkout organizer who recently quit, organized a GoFundMe page with the goal of creating a $1 million fund to support striking workers. The fund’s description said, “Activision-Blizzard leaders have continually abused, union-busted, and remained apathetic to the wishes of workers.” Over $330,000 has been raised so far.

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Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

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Sports trading card platform Arena Club has raised $10 million in Series A funding.

Co-founded by CEO Brian Lee and Hall of Fame Yankees player Derek Jeter, Arena Club launched its digital showroom in September. Through the platform, sports fans can buy, sell, trade and display their card collections. Using computer vision and machine learning, Arena Club allows fans to grade and authenticate their cards, which can be stored in the company’s vault or delivered in protective “slabs.” Arena Club intends to use the new cash to expand these functions and scale its operations.

The new funding brings Arena Club’s total amount raised to $20 million. M13, defy.vc, Lightspeed Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures and BAM Ventures contributed to the round.

“Our team is thankful for the group of investors—led by M13, who see the bright future of the trading card hobby and our platform,” Lee said in a statement. “I have long admired M13 and the value they bring to early-stage startups.”

M13’s co-founder Courtney Reum, who formed the early-stage consumer technology venture firm in 2016 alongside his brother Carter Reum, will join Arena Club’s board. Reum has been eyeing the trading card space since 2020 when he began investing in what was once just a childhood hobby.

The sports trading card market surged in 2020 as fans turned to the hobby after the pandemic brought live events to a standstill. Since then, prices have come down, though demand remains high. And investors are still betting on trading card companies, with companies like Collectors bringing in $100 million earlier this year. Fanatics, which sells athletic collectibles and trading cards, reached a $31 billion valuation after raising $700 million earlier this week. On the blockchain, Tom Brady’s NFT company Autograph lets athletes sell digital collectibles directly to fans.

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“Providing users with a digital card show allows us to use our first-class technology to give collectors from all over the world the luxury of being able to get the full trading card show experience at their fingertips,” Jeter said in a statement.

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